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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Mapping My Story

Open the map link in a different browser




Three months ago, me and my team embarked the biggest challenge in our life. While the whole exercise is about the fundraising and pushing our mental and physical barriers, there are many ways to document our story.

Being a seasoned GIS professional, I know there is way to document the story in a such way that leverages my GIS skills without require much coding. Presenting to you: ArcGIS Online Story Map Journal.

Author at the far right of the photo


This post isn't dedicated on how to build the map story journal. However, I will be focusing more on key elements I have learnt in building my story using ArcGIS Online.


  • Q: Why use a map to convey the story? Wouldn't photos and writing is sufficient?
  • A: I firm believer that this challenge has a strong spatial aspects. Since Victoria (Australia) practice open data, it removed a big hurdle for me to download the datasets I needed to document the track. Live tracking wasn't needed as Oxfam website was keeping tabs on all teams. The map platform allows the user to relieve every key event of our experience as though they are walking on our footsteps.
  • Q: Why ArcGIS Online as opposed to other platforms for journaling the story?
  • A: I have encountered three to four major mapping platforms: ArcGIS Online, CartoDB, MangoMap and MapBox. As I am bringing pictures, graph images and creating multiple pages for the story, ArcGIS Online has a simple platform for bringing them together without requiring developer's knowledge. All other platforms would require significant coding to match ArcGIS Online standard
  • Q: What are the challenges in building the map story?
  • A: Much of my time was spent in obtaining the datasets of the track and extracting the relevant sections for the map. Secondly, choosing suitable colours and adjusting the base map transparency was a challenge. I want the users to be attracted to the tracks and key points rather than the background map.
  • Q: What are key resources or learning I have learnt/acquired in building the map story?
  • A: I leveraged the online documentation of ArcGIS Online Story Map Journal to build my platform. Click here to learn more. More importantly, my audience was my other resource. Some of them spent time in asking me to improve some content that has been delivered. I received consent of all my team members to advertise this map application
Interested to start your mapping journey? Contact me through a comment below or fill up your details to you right.

Monday, 4 July 2016

ESRI Directions & User Conference: Key Points

ESRI User Conference from Hoyts Cinema in Melbourne
Recently, I have attended two key sessions organized by ESRI Australia - Directions Live in May and User Conference (a special style) in June. In this blog post, I will highlight some key insights to ESRI ArcGIS new capabilities that you may want to consider:


  1. ArcGIS Online: Does your organization or group host an ArcGIS Online Portal? Have you wondered on how to make it looking professional and reflect your organizational identity?
    1. Configuring your home page - This documentation talks about adding your organizational feel to the home page of your portal 
    2. Customizing your home page - Resources for developers and who have additional time to create a great welcome to ArcGIS Online
    3. Creating an Easy access to your web map applications - Wonder on how people can access your web map applications easily? Consider adding a sliding banner to home page.
    4. Uploading your Print Template for Online Maps - ArcGIS Online has printing capacity for all the web map applications (based on your configurations). If you want the user to print a map according to your standards, you need ArcGIS server to stream the standardized printing layout to ArcGIS Online
  2. Drone2Map: Combining drone technology and ESRI software powered by Pix4D, this tool is gaining a lot of traction in the mining industry and irrigation network management in Australia. In the mining industry, drones are much more efficient and cheaper in calculating the volume of rocks and earth moved around. Drones can be send to remote places where it is unsafe for humans to be in person for monitoring. Drone2Map has the capability to generate photorealistic 3D models.
  3. Insights for ArcGIS: Drag and drop your data and generate instant maps. Create multiple charts and query the results you want. Find out more here.
  4. ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud: For cartographers and communications professionals, this beta tool bring maps straight into Adobe Creative Suite. Find out more here.

Case Study

From the four pointers above, I have implemented in the key points for ArcGIS Online. In my company, we have an ArcGIS Online portal with groups (aggregate of users who produce, use and distribute the online maps). As the unofficial administrator for ArcGIS Online, I discussed with one of the groups who use my designed maps a lot for business. Fresh learned from ESRI Directions, I was interested to bring those ideas into action.

I discussed with this group and scoped their requirements. I came to know that

  • They are finding difficult to see the maps they want
  • Tag or Putting an Image that are suitable for the popular maps being used
Applying on the knowledge I have learnt, I began to modify the home page of my company's ArcGIS Online. With help of ESRI Australia, I placed a banner of the popular maps for the group to see by default first view. I customized the front page to reflect my Company's logo and business profile.

Currently, I am working on the best identifiers for the popular maps. Apparently, my group wants to see an image of map for every web application. A map that reflects the content of web map application. For them, that is the best way for them to identify their applications, not the title nor generic images.

Interested to find out more about capabilities of ArcGIS Online?

Contact me either on the contact form or drop a blog comment.

*This blog is not sponsored or endorsed by ESRI Australia/ ESRI in general. It is purely author's opinion

The author at ESRI User Conference
AECOM utilizing ArcGIS Online to convey their largest engineering work in Australia (ESRI Directions)